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BBC to review Sports Personality prize shortlist rules

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BBC Sports Personality of the year logo

© BBC

The BBC has said that it will review the nominations process for next year's Sports Personality of the Year award, after no women were named on the 2011 ten-person shortlist.

This week, the all-male 2011 list attracted criticism from some of the UK's leading women sporting stars.

Chrissie Wellington, the winner of her fourth Ironman world championship title in October, described the lack of women as "disgraceful".

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who missed out on the shortlist by a single vote despite winning a world championship Gold medal in July, said on Twitter: "There's been some great sportswomen like Keri-Anne Payne, it's sad they are not recognised. Hopefully next year can be all women nominations after London 2012."

In response to the controversy, the BBC said: "We stand by the current process but have committed to take on board what happened this year. We will review the shortlisting process for next year's show.

The statement, issued to BBC News, added: "It is too early to say what, if any, changes will be made to the process but please rest assured that we will seek the opinions of people both within and outside of the BBC before deciding on the appropriate methodology for 2012."

The ten contenders for this year's prize, chosen by a panel of 27 sport editors from national and regional newspapers and magazines, include Mark Cavendish (cycling), Darren Clarke (golf), Alastair Cook (cricket), Andrew Strauss (cricket), Luke Donald (golf), Amir Khan (boxing), Rory McIlroy (golf), Andy Murray (tennis), Mo Farah (athletics) and Dai Greene (athletics).

This marks the first time since voting for BBC Sports Personality of the Year was changed in 2006 that a woman has not been on the shortlist.

Winner of the prize will be decided by a public vote during the Sports Personality of the Year show on BBC One, which will be aired live from 8pm on December 22.

The last female winner of the annual award was equestrian Zara Phillips, who scooped the prize in 2006 after she achieved Gold and team silver at the World Equestrian Games. Adlington and athlete Jessica Enniss have since appeared in the top three.

The BBC statement continued: "The current system was introduced in 2006 and at least two women have always previously been shortlisted for the main award.

"Having considered a wide range of alternative mechanisms, we remain convinced that the current system is fair, independent and robust."

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